2013 Conference

In 2013, the Conference on the Public Humanities focused on the relationship between the Arts, Performance, and the Humanities. Panels will address the public orientation, political possibility, and contemporary context in which these disciplines find and redefine themselves.

2013 Agenda

6th Annual Conference on the Public Humanities
Friday, March 8th, 2013
De Luca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

9:00-9:15 Opening Remarks*  
9:20-10:05 Making Public Arts: Faisal Abdu'Allah (Arts Institute Artist in Residence) and Henry Drewal (Art History, UW-Madison)
10:10-11:00    ExpresARTE Mural & Documentary Presentation (originally funded by the Public Humanities Exchange program)


11:00-11:05- Break



11:10-12:10 Making Public Humanities: Josh Calhoun (UW-Madison, English) & Jonathan Senchyne (UW-Madison, School of Library & Information Studies)


12:10-1:20 Lunch

1:25-2:10 Making Public Art: Colin Kloecker (Works Progress, Minneapolis, MN)



2.15-2:45 Making Justice Public Nancy Buenger (Institute for Legal Studies Fellow, UW-Madison)


2:50-3:00 Break



3:00-4:00 Making Arts Public: Anne Pasternak (Executive Director, Creative Time, NYC)

Discussion and Closing Remarks  

*Coffee and Pastries will be provided

**Due to scheduling conflicts, Lynda Barry will no longer be a presenter at the Conference. Please check back soon for more information.

2013 Speakers

2013 Keynote Speaker

Anne Pasternak joined Creative Time in the fall of 1994 as the Executive Director. Since that time, the organization, which began commissioning innovative public work in New York City in 1974, has collaborated with hundreds of artists to ignite the public’s imagination, explore ideas that shape society, and bring groundbreaking public art to millions of people around the world. Thanks to Pasternak’s vision, Creative Time recently began presenting national and global projects and initiatives, making it the only public arts organization with programs that have reached from New York to New Orleans, Haiti to Hanoi, and Dubai to Denver.

In addition to her work at Creative Time, Pasternak curates independent exhibitions, consults on urban planning initiatives, and contributes essays to cultural publications. She lectures extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and has served as a guest critic at Yale University.

Other Speakers Include:

Faisal Abdu’Allah is an internationally acclaimed British artist who creates iconographic imagery of power, race, masculinity, violence, and faith to challenge the values and ideologies we attach to those images and to interrogate the historic and cultural contexts in which they originate. In addition to being a Senior Lecturer in Fine Arts at the University of East London, he still occasionally cuts hair at his barber shop/studio in Harlesden, London, called Faisal's.

Henry J. Drewal is an art historian specializing in the arts of the Yoruba-speaking peoples of West Africa and the African Diaspora. His six years of research and study in Africa included apprenticeships with Yoruba sculptors. He is the author of Beads, Body, and Soul: Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe (1998); Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought (1989); Gelede: Art and Female Power Among the Yoruba (1983, 2nd Edition, 1990), and numerous articles in African Arts and other journals. He is currently working on an exhibition/book project about the visual history and culture of the African water spirit, Mami Wata, and books on Ijebu-Yoruba and Afro-Brazilian art history.

Together, Faisal and Henry will discuss FauHaus, an art laboratory they are currently co-teaching, which is composed of student practitioners from visual arts, performance, art history, and visual culture. Referencing the legendary Bauhaus—a space where multiple disciplines were encouraged to flourish side by side—FauHaus (F for Faisal, H for Henry, Haus for UW-Madison) is grounded in Drewal’s theory of sensiotics, which considers the crucial role of the senses in understanding arts and culture. It takes as a guiding principle the understanding that the modern brain houses a complex mind that retains the thoughts of its predecessors. "The Modular Nature of Human Intelligence," the “understanding that human instincts or cognitive programs evolved to solve the adaptive problems faced by our ancestors makes understanding the ancestral world important….”

Nancy Buenger is currently a Fellow at the Institute for Legal Studies and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Center for Law, Society & Justice (CLSJ), an undergraduate program interrelating law, the humanities, and social sciences. Dr. Buenger holds a doctorate in history from the University of Chicago, and is the recipient of the 2010-11 Law and Society Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wisconsin and the 2009-10 Alumni Fund Fellowship at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Nancy has been partnering with youth caught up in the juvenile justice system in Madison as a public component of her research into the court of chancery in the United States. As part of that project, she has assisted with artistic and video work that documents young people's experience in that court system in an attempt to educate her students, employees and administrators in the juvenile system, and the broader public about the lives of those inside it.

Colin Kloecker is a Twin Cities-based artist, designer and cultural producer working at the intersection of public engagement and civic design. In 2009, after 2 years of creating innovative public programs like Solutions Twin Cities, Salon Saloon, and Give & Take, Colin and his collaborators founded Works Progress, an artist-led public design studio that he now co-directs with his wife and creative partner, Shanai Matteson. Works Progress creates collaborative projects that inspire, inform and connect; catalyzing relationships across creative and cultural boundaries and providing new platforms for public engagement.


Jonathan Senchyne is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Studies in the field of print and digital cultures at UW-Madison. He is also affiliated with the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture. He is at work on his first book, a study of the resonant materiality of paper and the politics of sense in early and nineteenth-century American literature and culture.

Jonathan's work focuses on a period in American literary history when, unlike the present, paper was new media. He looks at the intersection of print and material cultures in literary, popular, and ephemeral texts about all aspects of paper in the 18th and 19th centuries, with attention to how paper is imagined to organize and mobilize concepts of publicity, sexuality, gender, race, and authorship. His interests in the digital humanities stem from present attempts to rethink paper (journals and books printed on paper, scholarly presentations i.e. "to give a paper," etc) and also uses of new media for publicly-engaged scholarship. He has contributed to digital humanities projects such as In Media Res and the Keywords for American Studies teaching wiki collaboratory.

Joshua Calhoun is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at UW-Madison. His current research explores ecologies of writing and reading, especially the poetic interplay between literary ideas and the physical forms they are made to take as sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts. Made from recycled clothes, slaughtered animals, and felled trees, poetic texts in Renaissance England were filled with visible traces of ecological matter. He argues that the flora and fauna from which a text was made were legible, significant elements of its poetic form. Joshua also leads hands-on workshops on the history of papermaking, and occasionally teaches a community education course called "Shakespeare Out Loud."


ExpresARTE is a collective of Latino youth activists in Madison that uses creative expression and storytelling as a tool for social change and social justice. Through art, the group promotes leadership, skills, knowledge, and voice to address issues affecting the Latino community.  Our overall goal is to use art and storytelling to understand the lived experiences of Latinos and how they are affected by multiple systems (school system, juvenile justice system, and in the community).  We hope that multiple art forms can serve to heal ourselves, educate each other, and create connections between our personal stories and systems of injustice.